Prior to Sunday’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots held a special induction ceremony on Saturday for former nose tackle Vince Wilfork as he became the 32nd member of the team Hall of Fame.
Sporting the trademark red jacket, Wilfork was introduced by Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft.
As for “Big Vince’s” speech? He completely “winged” the whole thing and spoke straight from the heart with no pre-written words.
“As a player, I never really thought about being a Hall of Famer. My goal was always playing football, a game I love, but to understand who I am, you have to understand my journey,” Wilfork said.
Wilfork then explained how his parents’ death initially caused him to quit football altogether, but his defensive line coach at The University of Miami convinced him to return to the field and continue his career.
“The more I thought about it, the more I came to my senses, and I picked my career back up. Fast forward, I get drafted with the first pick. I came to New England, one of the best decisions RKK ever made. But at the same time, I was still missing my mother and father.”
Crowd outside @TheHall goes silent then erupts in a standing ovation as a teary Vince Wilfork, who cited the emotional stress of losing his parents by age 20, thanks Pats fans for supporting him, calling them “family”, saying he accepts the jacket on behalf of all Patriots fans.
— Fitzy (@FitzyGFY) September 24, 2022
At the conclusion of Wilfork’s speech, head coach Bill Belichick made a surprise appearance to voice his appreciation.
“I would just like to personally thank you for what you have done for me. Your leadership, your competitiveness, your team attitude, and your physical and mental toughness. Thank you for all you’ve done for me, my family, and this organization. You are truly not only a Hall of Famer, but you’re one of the captains of this Hall of Fame team,” Belichick said.
Fast forward to Sunday, Wilfork gave a pep talk to the current team’s defensive line during pregame warmups and spoke at halftime.
You can check out the best moments from Wilfork’s Hall of Fame homecoming weekend below.
New England Patriots fans have gathered at Gillette Stadium for the hall of fame induction ceremony for Vince Wilfork. pic.twitter.com/bmup2KS2nV
— Brea Douglas (@BreaDouglasTV) September 24, 2022
Patriots Hall of Fame inductee Vince Wilfork is on the cover of the GameDay magazine sold at Gillette Stadium today. pic.twitter.com/FAUv2SAe4V
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 25, 2022
Vince Wilfork held down the Patriots locker room for ten years.
— Ian Steele (@IanSteeleABC6) September 25, 2022
Pregame D-linemen pep talk from Patriots newest Hall of Famer Vince Wilfork.
— C. (@ChelseaSherrod) September 25, 2022
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 25, 2022
Devin McCourty repping Vince Wilfork in his postgame presser. pic.twitter.com/19DuusY2l3
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) September 25, 2022
If you’d like to watch the full Hall of Fame ceremony in its entirety, click HERE.
Posted Under: Patriots Video
Tags: Bill Belichick Devin McCourty Matt Chatham Robert Kraft Vince Wilfork